Video Book Log
Spotlight on safety April 2007
Diversitea splits the line between product and media presentation with its Yoga DVD and related Yoga “paws” to cover hands and feet.
Given the varied workout of lugging gear and swimming entailed in diving combined with the focus on breath control, yoga’s stretches and
breathing exercises are great mental and physical activities for divers. The trouble is, yoga mats take up space and weight that could be used
for diving gear for travelers. Yoga paws provide the traction to move through yoga stretches on dive boats. The DVD, which is sold
separately, demonstrates an 18-minute routine attuned to divers movements that is intended to help limber up and tone muscles, improve air
consumption and aid relaxation. With many charter boats having DVD players on board, it’s possible to get the whole dive party to form an
on-board yoga class. ISBN: none. www.diversitea.com.
Shark classic is re-released July 2007
Before fictional “Jaws” made viewers cower in theater seats Blue Water White Death documented the power of the white shark. The
groundbreaking film directed by adventurer Peter Gimbel propelled the career of cinematographer Stan Waterman and set a box office
record take of $5 million in 1971. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is re-releasing the film this month in DVD, allowing movie buffs to once again
see the film that inspired Peter Benchley to create the “Jaws” series. The movie follows the movements of the ocean’s top predator on a
12,000-mile odyssey from Durban, South Africa and across the Indian Ocean. In addition to the film, the disk includes commentaries by
shark experts Ron and Valerie Taylor and a profile on Waterman. It also includes featurettes on diving coordinator Rodney Fox, one of the
few divers to ever survive a white shark attack, and on the challenges of creating the film. Look for this DVD in book and video stores.
Click To Enlarge
Cave into darkness December 2006
Facing Darkness is a 45-minute DVD documentary from Pixnat that’s a visual appetizer for any diver interested in penetrating caves.
Filmmaker Nathalie Lasselin has assembled interviews with many of today’s top cave explorers, including Lamar Hires, Jim Bowden, John
Orlowsky, John Jones, Bill Rennaker, Jerry Murphy and Hugh Dickson. They tell what draws them to the sport that has logged more than
300 deaths, and of advances in training and gear that have vastly improved safety today. Explorers narrate while the video progresses
through passages of Florida’s limestone caves, providing glimpses of the unique marine life, fossils and formations carved by millions of
years of geologic activity. Beauty of the widescreen presentation may even adamant open water divers to consider cave training. ISBN: 8
27912 05365 4. www.facingdarkness.com.
Any portal in a dive December 2006
Just in time for the mid-winter blahs, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler released issue two of their Dive Portal DVD magazine that
provides an entertaining virtual dive to enjoy between shoveling snow. Destinations showcased include Curacao, Catalina Island, the Navy
Experimental Dive Unit, Dominican Republic and the Mall of America’s fresh- and saltwater aquaria. Reefs, wrecks, caves and kelp forests
provide stages for their factual presentations interspersed with jokes and antics that keep the pace moving through 75 minutes of video.
Rebreather guru Jeff Bozanic, photographer Marty Snyderman and Dive Heart’s Matt Johnson broaden the scope of destinations in the
video. Interviews with explorer Jill Heinreth and Great Lakes wreck historian Cris Kohl that round it out to nearly two hours of playtime are
informative and personal. No ISBN. www.diveportaldvd.com.
Diving's freedom November 2006
Breaking Free is a touching video on how scuba diving can open up new worlds for people with disabilities. It tracks the progress of a 10-
year old and a 21-year-old college student who have cerebral palsy, as well as a young man who relearned to dive after he lost leg function
to paralysis. They are shown having their first taste of diving in a swimming pool, under the guidance of Handicapped Scuba Association
instructor Stewart Snyder III. After mastering breathing underwater and propelling themselves with hand strokes, they’re ready for the
open ocean off Grand Cayman Island. Underwater shots of lessons being taught and marvels as they explore colorful reefs are intertwined
with comments by the students on how diving helps them focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities. The 20-minute show was
filmed by veteran videographer Jeffrey Salgo for Aqua Rock Productions for presentation on television. However it was shown first in 2006
at the Boston Sea Rovers bringing tears to the eyes of some of the Northeast’s most hardened wreck divers. ISBN: None.
Virtually a Titanic dive August 2006
OK, it’s not really diving, unless Russia’s MIR submersible is considered one of the world’s most sophisticated drysuits. Still, the History
Channel’s DVD Titanic’s Final Moments, Missing Pieces gives a sense of diving on a wreck that is miles below the deepest feasible
technical dive. Undersea Detectives John Chatterton and Richie Kohler and an all-star cast of scientists and historians led an expedition to
the Titanic in August 2005. They achieved more than their goal of finding new clues to the demise of the “unsinkable” RMS Titanic after it
struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage in April 1912, killing more than 1,500. They also developed a television documentary that
interweaves historic footage, looks at the science and society of the day as well as that of modern times, profiles of the ship’s passengers,
the dynamics of the research team and the progress of a storm that cut short the expedition. More than 100 minutes of the show plus short
features on the Titanic’s sister ships and other maritime mysteries may even help non-divers appreciate the allure of wreck diving. ISBN: 0-
7670-8902-2. Learn more at www.historychannel.com.
Portal to Shadowy Divers July 2006
John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, subjects of Shadow Divers and hosts of TV’s Deep Sea Detectives are trying their hand at periodical
publishing in a DVD magazine called Dive Portal from On The Bottom Productions. Their premiere issue, with more than two hours of
narrated video, takes viewers everywhere from scallop diving off Maine to the bottom of the Belize blue hole, with stops in Palau, Key
Largo’s Aquarius underwater habitat and the Our World Underwater dive show in between. Interviews with pioneers Evelyn Dudas and
Stan Waterman are engaging, as is Chatterton’s folksy banter throughout the DVD. The presentation unfortunately is short on facts. For
instance, we’re told repeatedly that Aquarius is the site of serious scientific research, but not one specific example is cited. Weaving in
geological facts about the formation of the blue hole or Palau’s freshwater Jellyfish Lake would have added to the disk’s educational value.
Still, it’s entertaining and worth looking into issue No. 2, which is to be released this fall. No ISBN. Learn more at www.diveportaldvd.com.
Dive Portal No. 3 August 2007
Just because the Discovery Channel wasn’t smart enough to continue Deep Sea Detectives doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with the
antics of John Chatterton and Richie Kohler. In their latest Dive Portal DVD, the Shadow Divers return to their diving roots. For
Chatterton, that’s New Jersey’s commercial Divers Academy, and for Kohler, it’s Port Richie, Fla., where veteran cave instructor
Paul Heinerth takes the Queens native on a tour of Eagle’s Nest cave. The globe-trotting divers take viewers around the diving world,
with stops at Florida’s Spiegel Grove wreck, behind the scenes at Divers Alert Network, to England to dive with legendary wreck
explorer Leigh Bishop and to Micronesia to swim with mantas. The profile segment of their digital magazine is an interview with
diving’s man of facts, Jeffrey Gallant, who produces the “Diving Almanac and Yearbook.” Segments are filled with Chatterton’s and
Kohler’s folksy banter, which makes viewers feel that even they could almost pull off the challenging dives that this duo have under
their weightbelts. ISBN: None. www.diveportaldvd.com.
Non-food for thought September 2007
Teachers, dive clubs and community groups could do a world of good by showing Our Synthetic Sea to students and members. The
20-minute DVD from Algalita Marine Research Foundation shows how the 100 billion pounds of plastics produced annually in the
U.S. alone never really disappear. Instead, they break apart into ever tinier particles with capabilities of being lethal to animals at all
stages of disintegration. Even when particles are the size of microscopic plankton, they can cause plankton eaters to starve on a
non-nourishing diet of plastic shreds. What is consumed can go up the food chain as well, as ever larger creatures eat smaller ones,
right up to delivering toxins to humans, who are consuming more seafood than ever. Remoteness has little effect on lowering
quantities of plastics, considering that the research for the DVD was conducted in seines of mid-Pacific waters. The non-profit, Long
Beach, Calif., foundation has booklets, classroom materials and flyers as well that call attention to plastics and urge their proper
disposal to keep them from entering the food chain. ISBN: None. www.algalita.org.
Gilboa rocks as a dive site September 2007
Dive quarries are closing for the season throughout the Northeast and Midwest, but there is a handy way to keep the spirit of the
summer season alive during cold months. Gilboa, Ohio, Quarry produced a feature-length DVD of the 14-acre dive facility. Only
about 10 minutes are taken up with the description of its impressive topside amenities, with much of the film devoted to seeing the
underwater sites and creatures. Catfish, bass, bluegill and all sorts of freshwater denizens glide past the camera to appropriately
floating music. There are close ups of various sites such as the jet, helicopter and miscellaneous skiffs and vehicles that have been
sunk for the enjoyment of the 15,000 divers who visit the quarry each year. Training sessions are presented as well, since this is a
major Midwest instruction hub with its series of shallow platforms for open water tests and a section that’s deeper than 130 feet for
technical training in mixed gasses. Although diver Mike Williams developed the site for divers, it offers training in other disciplines as
well, including rappelling, rock climbing and grain silo rescue. It’s a good video to loop on a screen during a dive club’s annual
holiday party. ISBN: 8-37101-34415-9. www.divegilboa.com.
Zip through a Florida cave May 2008
Cave divers and even those who prefer to leave diving in overhead environments to others will get a kick out of The Caves of Mill
Pond: Jackson Blue from Hi Def Pictures LLC. The system, near Marianna, Fla., also is known as Blue Springs Cave at Merritt's Mill
Pond. A team from the Indianapolis-based video production company mounted high-definition video cameras to the front of a scooter
to zip through a system that some regard as the most beautifully decorated of Florida's caves. The resulting footage is a great way to
show off your high-definition TV when you have diving pals over for a party. Except for a few pauses in the action at restrictions,
passages rush past in a wide-screen format as the team powers from the cavern zone for some 4,450 feet to the end of the gold line.
Except for a short narration at the outset, the 45-minute video is accompanied only with a hard-driving rock beat, which seemed a bit
odd for a company whose goal is to "connect beauty with communication." Hi Def president Bill Baker says the mix was intentional
because "cave divers are much more interested in seeing the system, rather than listening to some guy talk about it." The DVD
includes a photo slide show by photographers Ryan Despain, William Grahm, Keith Mille and Robert Pawlak. See a clip and order it or
other destination guides at www.hidefpics.com.
Virtually dive the U-853 May 2008
Readers who wanted to dive the U-853 after reading Peter Venoutsos' story about the World War II sub in the August 2005 issue of
Northeast Dive News can do so now without getting wet. Venoutsos, through his P.V. Images Productions, recently released a DVD
about the wreck that lies at 130 feet off Block Island, R.I. About half of the 30-minute video is footage of diving in and around the
sub, and describing conditions divers should expect if they attempt to visit the wreck. The first part of the video includes historic
images of the U-boat, its crew and of its demise. In his rich baritone voice, Venoutsos narrates the story of the last German sub to be
sunk in U.S. waters. Dubbed the "tightrope walker" for its ability to elude sub hunters, the U-853's luck ran out when it torpedoed and
sank the USS Black Point off Port Judith, R.I., after Germany had surrendered in World War II. The Navy responded with barrages
of depth charges that left the sub and its crew on the bottom. A Connecticut diver who brought up skeletal remains in 1960 prompted
the movement to leave the dead undisturbed on wrecks. The unknown sailor was buried with full military honors in a Newport
cemetery. Classical music behind the narration gives this video a sense of serenity befitting a war grave. Get a copy directly from
Venoutsos at dive shows where he is a popular presenter or order one through www.pvimages.com.
Dive in to 'Clam Chowder' April 2008
For a chuckle about stereotypes of diving personalities, Clam Chowder for the Scuba Diver's Soul is a good bet. Debra A. Hill, MD,
and Robert P. Titus shot the 40-minute DVD at Long Beach, Calif., so be prepared for left coast humor as divers relate their tales.
Their basic contention is that divers are normal people until they slip into scuba suits that transform them into superheroes of the
deep. Their description of the content as a combination of a blind date, Monty Python and a bit of "Prairie Home Companion" is a bit
of a stretch. However, it is a good video to share with non-diving friends to help them understand the foibles of you and your diving
buddies. They formed DiveIn productions with a goal of creating a series of "Clam Chowder" videos. Regardless of whether they
produce any more, this is campy enough to create a minor cult following of its own. ISBN: none. E-mail email@example.com
Key into good diving April 2008
Northerners considering dive trips to Florida can get help fine-tuning their plans by viewing Diving the Florida Keys: A Video Guide
from Hi Def Pictures. This 45-minute DVD has segments on the region's more popular wrecks, including the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter
Duane, Benwood and City of Washington, plus a 20-minute bonus tour of the Spiegel Grove. Molasses and French reefs, swimming
with dolphins and backcountry fishing round out the water sports presented in this video. Between the dives are interviews with
charter boat operators and a tour of Mel Fisher's Maritime Museum in Key West. Hi Def president Bill Baker, who's produced Emmy
Award-winning video for ESPN and History Channel documentaries, teamed up with Jason Roney, a dive instructor who's traveled
the world pursuing good diving. All video is shot in a wide-screen high-definition format that will show off your wall-sized plasma
TV. So pop some corn, invite your diving and non-diving friends over and get a conversation going about a road trip to the Keys.
ISBN: none. www.hidefpics.com
Virtually a Bahama dive January 2008
Northern divers who are put off by winter's cold waters and blew their travel budget on holiday presents may enjoy a virtual dive by
screening Hi Def Pictures' DVD, Diving Grand Bahamas: A Video Guide. Hi Def worked with UNEXSO and a Bahaman diving
facility's staff to create the 45-minute video. It includes vignettes of diving at all skill levels, from people taking Discover Scuba
classes to encounters with shark and dolphins to exploring Ben's Cavern and Mermaid's Lair caves. All footage was shot in
high-definition format for incredibly rich color and sharpness. The guide is available in standard definition as well. Besides underwater
images, the video includes interviews with on-island diving professionals, so it's a handy primer for those who may be planning a trip
there. Hi Def offers similar video guides to other popular destinations, including Roatan, the Florida Keys and Marianna, Florida. Look
for the video at your dive shop or on-line at www.hidefpics.com.
Catch the Bass on DVD June 2008
Diving the USS Bass at 160 silty feet off Block Island is definitely an adventure, but it isn't for everyone. Fortunately for we less
adventurous divers, Captain Lou Costello takes you there in his 34-minute DVD The Wreck Hunters: Dive to the wreck of the USS
Bass. Videographer Steve Sheuer accompanies Costello on a series of dives to produce a film that explores the 342-foot World War II
sub from end to end inside and out. In his narration, Costello tells the story of the largest non-nuclear sub the Navy ever built, and
describes the travels and contributions to the war effort of the vessel and its crew. Its last service was after the war ended, when the
Bass was used as target practice on March 18, 1945, which led to its new life as a home for sea life and a magnet to draw serious
technical divers. Costello, Sheuer and fellow diver Curt Umrysz even capture the giddy sense of successfully completing deep dives
well enough to make a viewer feel a narced narced as they head back to port.
ISBN: 6-89076-46792-6. www.wreckhunters.net.
'Trukin' to Palau July 2008
If you're dreaming of a trip to the Pacific Rim, Steve and Kristine Barsky can help refine your fantasies with their new DVD Diving
the Far Pacific: A Taste of Chuuk (Truk) and Palau from their Hammerhead label. Steve narrates the 34-minute segment on Chuuk
and Kristine, the 20-minute one on Palau. Chuuk is Japan's World War II equivalent of the U.S. Pearl Harbor and the video visits all
the popular wrecks there. Data about each ship and the dive is presented in slides before each ship, freeing Steve to just tell tales about
the sunken materiel they contain while Kristine glides easily over artifacts that would have wreaked havoc on U.S. / Allied forces had
Japan's fleet not been sunk here. Drifting strains of Japanese instrumental trio music accompanying the video add a nice touch of
cultural sensitivity for dives through what is essentially a wartime graveyard. Counterbalancing that somber note is seeing the vibrant
waters of Palau. Currents for drift diving draw a kaleidoscope of colorful sea life. Breaking up the fish and plant portraits is a trip to
the fabled Jellyfish Lake. Throughout both segments are safety reminders to wear thicker suits than many do in warm waters, and to
watch depths and bottom times. Good thing. Opening slides tell of substantial depths and cooler water at them. Like the sites, this is a
video that won't be fully appreciated on just one trip through it. ISBN: 978-0-9740923-5-5. www.hammerheadpress.com.
DVD For wreck seekers December 2008
Wreck divers need not stay up late to watch re-runs of Dan Crowell's Military Channel series Quest For Sunken Warships. Image
Entertainment has edited the four episodes into a 163-minute DVD that's a lot easier to watch than a commercial-interrupted home
taping of the series. The USS Oriskanay is the only wreck that was sterilized and retired as an artificial reef. All others are war
victims. Northeast divers will feel at home watching Torpedo Alley as the waters off North Carolina came to be called when 397 ships
were sunk by u-boats in the first six months of World War II, with a loss of nearly 5,000 lives. The USS Murphy gives divers a rare
glimpse of the ship at 260 feet, 75 miles east of the Jersey Shore, which Crowell found to be a destroyer, not the Liberty Ship it was
reported to be. Divers planning trips to Chuuk Lagoon can learn about the destination in Operation Hailstorm, the code name for the
Allied barrage that sunk much of the Japanese fleet. Aaron May's narration adds drama to the interviews, historic footage and
animations. Former Seeker dive boat captain Crowell slips in layman explanations of the physiology, hazards and thrills of deep wreck
and rebreather diving. ISBN: 014-38143-782-9. www.deepexplorers.com.
A wreck diver's dream January 2009
Wreck divers going through withdrawal from their favorite pastime will enjoy popping "A Salvager's Nightmare" into their DVD
players. The 20-minute video from Out of the Blue Productions tells the story of the Cayuga. The 290-foot-long freighter sank in the
Straits of Mackinac following a May 10, 1895, collision with the Joseph L. Hurd that claimed one life. A cargo of lumber kept the
Hurd afloat as it was towed to port. The Cayuga sank quickly to the 100-foot bottom, shallow enough to tempt Tom Reid to try to
salvage the vessel. One of Reid's divers became the second death on the wreck and Reid himself was severely bent in the salvage
attempt. He gave up after a broken cable sent the Cayuga to the bottom a second time, dragging his salvage barge down with it.
Archive photos and copies of news accounts are mixed with videos of cruising the wreck from bow to stern, as well as the barge
that's now off to the port side upon which the Cayuga lies. Great Lakes diver Jim Stayer narrates the video and identifies ship and
engine components buried beneath a thick coat of zebra mussels. The melancholy violin line behind the narration adds to the sensation
of peacefully drifting over a beautifully preserved shipwreck. ISBN: 9-780962-708442. www.greatlakes/~divelog.
Truk extends dive video genre March 2009
Wet Film / Dusmar Production took the dive video genre to a new level with The Legacy of Truk Lagoon. Sure it has the requisite
segments of drifting through a beautiful underwater playground accompanied with mushy music that's expected of dive resort videos.
However, much of its 47 minutes is taken with interviews of Truk natives who survived Operation Hailstorm when Allied forces sank
most of the Japanese fleet there on Feb. 17-18, 1944. Japanese and American veterans tell of their roles in the battle and its effects.
Cinematographer Neil McDaniel's subjects describe life on the island before and after the siege, and how it affected the development
of the world-class wreck diving destination that Truk is today. Historic footage includes not just the battles, but also Japan's effort to
recover and cremate sailors' remains so they could be returned to their homeland for burial befitting their heroic roles in battle. It even
covers the discovery of the Katsuragisan Maru, a wreck that long eluded searchers. These elements make this video a true
documentary that presents an underlying theme on the horror that is war and of the necessity to find peaceful ways to resolve
conflicts if at all possible. No ISBN. www.subsea-enterprises.com.
Deadly Mistake, Good tale April 2009
Jim and Pat Stayer ventured from their milieu, Great Lakes wrecks, to waters off North Carolina to document the demise of the U-
352. Their Out of the Blue Productions DVD A Deadly Mistake describes what happened after the u-boat fired upon what it thought
was a merchant ship that turned out to be the Coast Guard Cutter Icarus on May 9, 1942. Although fairly early in the World War II
battle with Germany, the cutter was armed to the teeth with the newest weaponry, which later helped to turn the tide in against the
subs that initially crippled U.S. shipping. Newspaper clips, sketches, historic photos and an extensive interview with the sub's finder,
George Purifoy, tell the story. This find helped him quit his day job to establish Olympus Dive Center, and clips of reunions that he
sponsored of U-352 and the Icarus crews add a touching note to the life-and-death battle. Much of it, though, is footage of what
wreck divers love – an underwater tour of the site including penetration of the officers' quarters, control room and conning tower.
Still shots of a surviving Type 7C sub are interspersed with the inside footage to make sense of the silt-covered pipes and gauges.
Dense clouds of fish and Jim Stayer's homey narration give a warm tone to life springing anew from the devastation of war.
Out Of The Blue Productions.
Cave into exploration April 2009
Axis Mundi gives viewers an armchair appreciation for rigors of true exploration. The nearly 50-minute video from Pixnat Productions
documents a 10-day expedition to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where Curt Bowen and Bret Hemphill lead a veritable army of divers
and support teammates to dive cenotes, several for the first time. The title means "center of the world" which is what these
water-filled holes in the limestone were to ancient Mayans. In water-filled passages, the team found exquisite decorations of stalactites
and stalagmites. They also found remains of not just animals that may've stumbled into the holes, but human bones and pottery as
well. Whether they are the result of accidents, secondary burials or human sacrifice can be only speculated, for those who know the
answer are long gone. Balancing the beauty of the dives is the truly grueling work of mounting an trek into the foreboding jungle.
Ticks, wasps, poisonous plants and animals are among the inconveniences of cutting through the lush, hot, steamy land to lug
mountains of gear and lowering it into tiny cave openings. Nathalie Lasselin, Pixnat Productions owner is among the videographers
who document the trip, which is narrated by Stacy Brown. Original music adds to the mood of the scenes. Even if you never go
there, you're glad this team did and brought back images. www.axismundi.pixnat.com.
True test for wreck divers May 2009
Jim and Pat Stayer's videos often are litmus tests for divers. Wreck divers will love them while reef lovers will wonder about wreck
divers' sanity. "Sifting Sands of Time" from their Out of the Blue Productions provides just such a test. The 21-minute video tells the
tales of four wrecks, the Alex Nimick, Myron, Miztec and Allegheny. All went down in shallow waters off Lake Superior's Whitefish
Point early in the 20th century as they tried to reach the protection from raging storms offered by Whitefish Bay just beyond the
point. As the video cruises the bottom, Jim Stayer describes the function of each pulley, engine part, brass ring and other items
strewn on the bottom, often pausing to read names and specs off makers' plates and other identifying items. Wreck divers will hang
on every word and marvel at the superb condition of these parts that are preserved in the lake's cold freshwater. Still there are parts to
catch the ear of non-wreck divers in the narratives on the history of each vessel, and quirks about its crewmen, including one captain
who had the misfortune to be at the wheel of three of the four wrecks. The video's title is drawn from two visits to the Nimick one
year apart. During the interim, sands at the 24-foot-deep site shifted uncover even more bits of wreckage, including what might have
been the failed part that led to its demise. Reef divers will roll their eyes. Wrecker divers will click to the screen featuring the Stayer's
other videos so they can order compete sets.Out Of The Blue Productions.
Virtual California divin' June 2009
If a trip to Southern California is in your travel plans, pick up a copy of GRK Productions' DVD The Famous Kelp Forest and Giant
Black Sea Bass of La Jolla Cove – San Diego. The video is one of Gary Knapp's Dive Travel series, each presenting a 30-minute
segment on what a tourist would like to see during one week at a destination. The series is aimed at divers, so there's always lots of
diving with a few sightseeing jaunts top-side. La Jolla Cove was designated a marine sanctuary in 1929, making it one of the nation's
oldest protected areas for sea life. As the title suggests, there is a lot of swimming through majestic kelp forests and images of sea
bass, a protected species that can be seen here thanks to the preserve. The video was released in 2007, and tries to draw a corollary
between the death of "crocodile hunter" TV wildlife reporter Steve Irwin and that of a sea bass named "Blackie" that was harvested by
a spear fisherman poaching in the preserve. As images of fish, plants and seals fill the screen, local dive master Rod Watkins, and seal
protectors Omar Hallack and Jim Hudnow describe the lives of the denizens of the sea. This is a video that can hold the interest of a
mixed room of divers and non-divers. www.grkproductions.com.
A Key of reefer gladness July 2009
Between the economy and the recent sinking of the Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, quite a few divers are considering road trips to Florida
instead of flights to far-off resorts. A good primer to focus thoughts on stay-cation within the nation is Hi-Def Pictures' DVD Diving
the Florida Keys. Filmed in 2007, it contains no footage on the Vandenberg, of course, but a 20-minute bonus feature on diving the
Spiegel Grove augments the 25-minute video, delivering a full 45 minutes of viewing time. The main feature is divided into six
segments: an introduction, Duane and Spiegel Grove wrecks, local operators' favorites, surface fun and advice on what to bring to
get the most out of the trip. All are digitally indexed so viewers can quickly go back to sections of special interest. Except for the
topside fun section, the camera is focused squarely on the beauty to be seen in America's Caribbean, with some 1,700 islands spread
over more than 100 miles of water. There's so much to see that local operators recommend visitors to research the Florida Keys to
identify where they want to go before they get there. That's always a good idea. www.hidefpics.com
Movie's a 'Flipper' out August 2009
Divers who care about cetaceans will want to keep eyes peeled on local movie marquees for The Cove. Dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry,
best known for his role in the "Flipper" television series of the 1960s, takes viewers to Taiji, Japan, where dolphins by the thousand
are captured and corralled to supply the multi-billion dollar dolphin industry. While some find their way to dolphin encounter programs
at aquaria around the world, most are sold for food or donated to school lunch programs. The meat, high in mercury, is often
marketed as whale meat. The one-hour 34-minute documentary from SkyFish Films, Diamond Docs and the Oceanic Preservation
Society garnered the Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It underscores the lengths industry players will go to
keep the world's eyes away from their livelihood. Film crews are tailed and threatened by locals, but nonetheless get footage some
with night-vision cameras of the fishermen and butchers going about their grim tasks in the lee of Wakayama Wildlife Protection Area.
Rebreathers helped crews avoid detection while filming underwater scenes. For O'Barry, the film is an attempt at redemption for the
industry he feels he helped to start through his TV show. www.thecovemovie.com.
Oh, Mamma! A Bahama DVD September 2009
Just in time for anyone considering a winter dive trip to the Bahamas, Gary Knapp has released a video sampler Nassau Bahamas, New
Providence Island. As with other videos in his Dive Travel Series, the 30-minute DVD from GRK Productions was filmed in one week to
show what tourists, especially divers, can pack into a one-week visit. The topside footage covers history of the island and flashes vignettes
of the museums, shops, zoos, forts and other highlights that could keep non-diving travelers busy while their friends go diving. Stuart Cove
takes viewers on a tour of his famed resort, and specialists in the sea lion and dolphin encounters areas provide briefings on the aquatic
animals in their charge. Widely varied sea life seen in the diving footage visually shows why the island is known as the underwater
Hollywood. Sharks, reef fish, eels, turtles, groupers, even, unfortunately, non-native lionfish abound on walls and colorful shallow reefs.
Quite a number of airplane and ship wrecks will be familiar to movie buffs, including the sets for "Thunderball", "Into The Blue", "Jaws
Four", "Flipper" and many other films dating back to "Creature From The Black Lagoon" and the 1917 silent flick "20,000 Leagues Under
The Sea". The challenge for any viewer is to pack more into one week than Knapp and his film crew packed into this video.
A Whale(back) of a tale September 2009
Great Lakes historians and authors Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg ventured into the video medium with The Shipwrecked Whalebacks. Being
regular presenters at dive shows prepared them to narrate the 28-minute DVD available through Seawolf Communications. Although packed
with facts, it is far from a dry recitation of history and fate of the uniquely streamlined vessels that were created in late 1800s in Duluth,
Minn., by Alexander McDougall. The steamers and barges caught the eye of public wherever they went, some as far as England and the
Pacific Northwest after rounding Cape Horn. The narrative is so glowing about the each of vessels and their fates that they seem to have
true personalities as unique as their design. Anecdotes of the sailors and passengers, though, are what give warmth to the story. Historic
shots of the vessels in their heyday and still and video images underwater fill the screen while Kohl and Forsberg take turns telling the story.
Larger freighters replaced whalebacks early in the 20th century, so now the only way to see one is to go diving in the Great Lakes or along
the Eastern Seaboard with one exception. The Meteor is preserved as a maritime museum at Superior, Wis.
Dive the big picture January 2010
Divers searching for a chance to see big pelagics might want to virtually test dive the “Revillagigedos Archipiellagos of Mexico” by viewing
Gary Knapp’s Dive Travel video on the destination. The uninhabited volcanic dots in Pacific are 250 miles off the tip of Cabo San Lucas,
and visited by liveaboard dive boats such as the Nautilus Explorer, which took Knapp on an eight-day trip there. Besides the islands of
Socorro, San Benedicto and Roca Partida, the divers visited pinnacles that rise to within 10 feet of the surface. Surrounding these lands is
water that plunges to thousands of feet of depth that is a crossroad for international travelers of the oceans. Manta rays with wingspans of
20 feet or more and weighing some 5,000 pounds approach divers for interspecies interactions. Whales cavort here, among other cetaceans
and whale sharks. White tip, hammerhead and reef sharks call the place home. In between gaping at Mr. Big, Knapp trained his video on
morays, spiny lobster and swarms of colorful tropical fish. As with other videos, he called attention to top-side activities at Cabo San Lucas
from which the boat departs for dive adventures. There would be plenty to amuse non-divers left ashore while the dive party heads to sea.